Miinmum system for my 85 year old father-in-law?

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Bruno, May 7, 2004.

  1. Bruno

    Bruno Guest

    I need to help my father-in-law order a Dell system. All he does is
    minor word processing (letters) and some Internet (currently,
    dial-up).

    I'm planning on a new 2400, with Microsoft Works. Basic sound. No
    monitor, as he has one already. All he wants is something to do what
    he needs to do as quickly as possible. The only step up he may do in
    the future is go to DSL.

    A few questions come to mind.

    1. Is the Celeron OK?

    2. Is 128MB enough memory? Just thinking about how long web pages take
    to download. Would 256MB make much difference?

    3. Is there any advantage to ordering through small business. He
    bought a Compaq locally last month and ended up taking it back. That
    machine had about 20 or so icons with a bunch of consumer oriented
    marketing crap (trial this, sign up for that), that I'm hoping to
    aviod that again. Does Dell have those things on their home system?
    Any less so on small office?

    He and I are on opposite coasts so I can't sit with him to get the
    system up and running. Therefore, I'm hoping for something easy to
    deal with out of the box.

    Any thought?

    Thanks in advance,
    Bruno
     
    Bruno, May 7, 2004
    #1
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  2. Bruno

    schmoopsy Guest

    1. yes.
    2. no At least 256MB, 512 would be better.
    3. yes crap is there. probably not as much though.

    How's his eye sight? Might need a big monitor or LCD? 2400's can't take an
    AGP video card. Step up to a 4600 gives that.
     
    schmoopsy, May 7, 2004
    #2
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  3. my 2ยข... what you describe all sounds logical to me but windows xp really
    needs at least 256mb to work well. since this machine uses some of the
    regular ram as video ram it is all the more important to not skip. i would
    order it with the base 256mb and install some locally/inexpensively
    purchased pc2700 (or pc2100 if you think you will never put in a faster
    processor than the celeron) which goes for well under $50 for a 256mb stick
    (for a system total of 384mb for much less than what dell wants for the
    difference). you could have the system sent to you so you can set it up to
    your liking and then ship it on to him. shipping cross country is not going
    to cost more than $25. business or home divisions both include some
    software that you have no interest or need for (trial antivirus, jasc photo,
    etc) but you do get the choice to not purchase office/wordperfect suite on
    most small business purchases. small business always collects sales tax,
    home does not for most states. one last thing... be sure to not get the
    'value' hard disk (which may no longer be offered, but was a 5400rpm drive
    when a 7200rpm could be had for just $10 more).
     
    Christopher Muto, May 7, 2004
    #3
  4. You're a good man, Bruno.

    1. Celeron is fine. It doesn't have quite the processing power of Pentium,
    but it sounds like your father-in-law doesn't need the extra juice.

    2. The amount of memory doesn't affect the speed at which a web page loads -
    that's determined by the speed of your Internet connection. However, Windows
    XP is mighty heavy on resources, and that's why you should go for 256MB of
    RAM instead of 128MB.

    3. You're going to pay sales tax if you order through Small Business, but
    you may also be able to order a computer with less of what you don't want.
    Computers sold through the Home division tend to come bundled with features
    that you can't get rid of. Dell's method of classifying computers as either
    for Home or Small Business is rather arbitrary, so try pricing a computer in
    both divisions. Either way, you're getting the same computer with the same
    parts and the same quality.

    One of the things that I like about Dell is that they don't load their
    computers with trialware and marketing offers. Some of the software that is
    included may be 'lite' versions of the regular programs, but that lite
    version is fully functional and has everything you really need.

    I find Dell's computers are easy to use right out of the box. As easy as any
    high technology product, at least. I have a much harder time figuring out my
    DVD player. But all bets are off once you connect to the Internet, where you
    have to deal with viruses, trojans, worms, adware, spyware, browser
    hijacking, spam etc. etc. Your father-in-law's computer can be hit with
    seconds of first connecting to the Internet, even if the only place he goes
    is AARP's web site.

    Rocky
     
    Rocket J. Squirrel, May 7, 2004
    #4
  5. Bruno

    Leythos Guest

    Perfectly fine for the above use.
    You want at least 256MB of RAM, nothing less. Windows XP, while pretty
    requires about 112MB of ram just to finish booting. If you can afford
    it, get 512MB and you'll be very happy with it.
    It's about the same. My suggestion is that you WIPE the computer and
    only install what you think he will need.

    Make sure that you get him a ROUTER, Norton AV 2004 and setup the system
    to do automatic Windows Updates each evening.
    My mother-inlaw has a 2400, but I wiped it and reinstalled before I gave
    it to her. it runs very nicely for her needs.
     
    Leythos, May 7, 2004
    #5
  6. Bruno

    Tom Scales Guest

    I own a 2400 and like it. It's not my primary machine, but it sure is a work
    horse. Here's my answers, taking into account that your father-in-law is
    across the country.

    1) Celeron is OK, but I'd go with the P4 instead. Sign up on small business
    for their newsletter. You'll get a coupon every 2-3 weeks. Time the purchase
    for when there are free upgrades, a coupon and free shipping the same week.

    2) No. 256 is a minimum, but given that you'll be doing phone support, buy
    him 512mb. It's worth it.

    3) - = sales tax, + = coupon, less 'junk'

    If you want it to run out of the box, the 2400 is fine. No need to send it
    to you or even crack the box.

    Tom
     
    Tom Scales, May 7, 2004
    #6
  7. Bruno

    Dick Guest

    Oh come on, don't be a cheap bastard. Get something good and work an hour
    of overtime to pay for it. He should shove a celeron up your ass, along
    with 128 MB RAM.
     
    Dick, May 8, 2004
    #7
  8. Bruno

    HH Guest

    Unlike the first to reply, who seems to lack both common courtesy and
    knowledge, I say the 2400 is an excellent choice for your pop-in-law, with
    the following caveat:
    Consider 256MB to be the bare minimum for Windows XP. Do him a favor and
    spring for 512MB. 64MB will be used for video.
    The Celeron is fine for his tasks, although a P4 would be better, of
    course..
    I've only purchased through small business so I cannot comment on the home
    side, although my 2.4 Celeron 2400/512MB/40GB 7.2K/DVD and CD-RW came with
    very few trial offers.
    The 2400 is a snap to set up.
    Be sure to specify a modem. The home side is automatic for one but on the
    SMB side, the default configuration is no modem. You can select either
    data/fax or telephony modems. On the SMB side, you can specify "no isp" if
    your relative already has one. The home side does not give this option.
    Hope THIS info is of some assistance.
    HH
     
    HH, May 8, 2004
    #8
  9. Now that's what I call a carefully thought out and well reasoned response.

    Rocky
     
    Rocket J. Squirrel, May 8, 2004
    #9
  10. Bruno

    Bruno Guest

    Thanks, Dick, for that thoughtful response. At least you were named
    correctly.
     
    Bruno, May 8, 2004
    #10
  11. Bruno

    Tom Almy Guest

    My father is 85 and has a 3 year old Dimension 4100 with 1 GHz Pentium
    III, 256MB RAM, 30 GB HD, Windows 2K, and DSL service. He uses it for
    photos, writing a newsletter, genealogy work (including a book), and web
    browsing.
    Absolutely. Every system on the market these days is overkill as far as
    the processor is concerned for this type of use. My father is 100%
    satisfied with the performance of his 1GHz system.
    It won't matter with downloading web pages, just starting applications
    or attempting to run multiple applications. My father starts everything
    running and doesn't shut anything off. In any case, considering the low
    price of memory, I wouldn't go with less than 256MB for any system.
    His system as well as four others I've bought all have come from Small
    Business. You might want to check out my page
    http://almy.us/homevsbusiness.html

    I don't know about the difference in the onscreen advertising between
    the two divisions, but there has been considerably less stuff (including
    unwanted installed programs) on my SB Dells than on Sony, HP, and
    Toshiba systems I've also purchased in the past 4 years. If you want a
    system completely clean and don't want to reinstall the OS or delete
    icons and programs then look at the Optiplex line. Only stuff on the one
    Optiplex I got was Dell documentation and a background image.


    Every one has worked out of the box. The HP took me some time to remove
    all the programs that autolaunched as start-up. I wasn't impressed with
    that system.
     
    Tom Almy, May 8, 2004
    #11
  12. Bruno

    John and Pat Guest

    ROFLOL...Squirrel keep em coming...

    Regards,
    John O.
     
    John and Pat, May 8, 2004
    #12
  13. Bruno

    John and Pat Guest

    <text cut>

    Bruno, I am not quite to that age yet but well on my way if you ask my
    children. I not only use my system for the exact reasons that your father
    needs, but also to play the odd game such as Links and TW 2004 golf. I have
    the Celeron based 2400 system but did add RAM to take it to 512 MB. I also
    installed a PCI video card (NVidia 5200) to take the place of the onboard
    Intel graphic card. But the onboard Intel would be just fine for your
    father. It works great and I could not be happier with this system.

    RAM is the main upgrade that you would look at for your father and I
    would suggest no less than 256 MB. You can always add another 256 MB at a
    substantially lower price than Dell charges. And if you and your father are
    on opposite coasts then the Dell support will be perfect for him. I have
    always found them to be most helpful and very fast shipping out parts and
    dispatching service if required.

    Regards,
    John O.
     
    John and Pat, May 8, 2004
    #13
  14. Bruno

    RS Guest

    256 will make a good deal of difference.


    Everyone has crap they want to sell you. Use the Uninstall Programs section
    to take them out. Any that don't dissapear, just right click and delete the
    annoying icon. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Cheapest Dell with 256Meg. Plug it in and done.
     
    RS, May 13, 2004
    #14
  15. Bruno

    Bruno Guest

    Thanks to all who responded to this posting last week. He ended up
    with a 2400 Celeron with 256K memory. He ordered the machine on Monday
    and received it Thursday. Now, I am anxiously waiting for him to set
    up his ISP so I can get an email.

    As an aside, he's been using an older machine for about five years, so
    he's not totally unfamiliar. But he does want to learn it himself and
    not rely on me too much.

    Thanks again
    -Bruno
     
    Bruno, May 15, 2004
    #15
  16. Bruno

    JJ Guest

    Good for him...my kind of user. He will be pleasantly surprised with the
    speed difference.

    Regards,
    John O.
     
    JJ, May 15, 2004
    #16
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